Officer-involved shooting near UT campus



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Posted on November 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 7:01 PM

AUSTIN -- Two Austin police officers are on administrative leave after shooting a man who they say pointed a gun at them.

It happened around 9:30 Sunday night just off the University of Texas campus in the 2900 block of Cole Street near East 30th St. and Red River. A 911 caller said his friend was in trouble at the La Casita apartment complex.

Officers arrived and found Gene Phillip Vela, 30, in an apartment. They say he pointed a hand gun equipped with a laser at them through a window. Then he backed out of sight of the officers and police heard gunshots. He then returned and pointed the laser at officers on the ground. That's when the officers fired their weapons.

Asst. Chief of Police Raul Munguia described what happened next.

"The subject went back deeper into the apartment once again, and within a few minutes the subject started saying he was bleeding and he needed help," said Munguia. "At that point he came to the front door with his hands up and gave up. Officers took him into custody and got him down to the ambulance to take him to the hospital."

Both officers involved are on administrative leave until the investigation is over. They have been identified as Officer Adrien Chopin and Officer Leo Cardenas. Chopin as been with APD for two years, and Cardenas has been with APD for three and a half years.

Vela was treated and booked into the Travis County Jail. He has been charged with aggravated assault on a police officer.

On Monday residents at La Casita found notes on their door notifying them that the complex is cooperating with police.

A man who still lives at the complex says he is a former roommate of Vela. He says Vela is an Iraq War vet and has been dealing with stress.

"He was dealing with some depression issues, so I'm not really surprised that this happened. But I didn't anticipate anything like this," said the former roommate.

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